Former county chief of staff pleads guilty

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – For decades, he helped shape the local political scene but tonight Andy Wallace is an admitted criminal.

The former chief of staff for the Lackawanna County commissioners pleaded guilty Monday morning to attempted indecent assault.

His plea comes just four months after charges were filed against Wallace.

Before serving as chief of staff for the current county commissioners, Andy Wallace ran the local office of former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter for more than 25 years.

He could now potentially spend the next two years in prison.

Andy Wallace and his attorney shared an umbrella as they walked into the Lackawanna County courthouse Monday morning.

Minutes later, the 66 year old pleaded guilty to the top criminal count he was charged with, attempted indecent assault.

“It’s a tremendous fall from grace but he also committed a crime and he’s going to be held accountable just like anybody else,” Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell said.

In June, prosecutors say Wallace followed an 18-year-old male clerk through the P&R Discount Grocery store in Eynon before trying to touch him sexually.

At the time, the store manager said Wallace was “notorious” for approaching male workers and trying to solicit them for sexual contact.

Investigators say Wallace would approach Latino clerks who might fear deportation if they didn’t cooperate with his sexual advances.

At this point, charges were only filed for one victim.

“We interviewed many, many witnesses and will continue to interview witnesses if anybody were to come forward but based upon our investigation, this was the charge that was appropriate under the circumstances,” Powell said.

Andy Wallace could now face up to two years in prison but he could just get probation or house arrest.

Based on his plea, Wallace will also be required to register as a sex offender for 15 years.

Prosecutors would not yet say if they intend to ask for jail time.

“I think the greatest protection for the community is the registration so we’re satisfied that there will be a 15 year registration but it’s the in the sound discretion of the court to impose a sentence,” Powell said.

Andy Wallace resigned as the Lackawanna County commissioners chief of staff right after news of the criminal investigation broke, citing family and medical reasons.

In court Monday, Wallace said he underwent a psychiatric evaluation based on this entire situation.

A judge did not immediately set a sentencing date for Wallace but it will most likely take place early next year.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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